Anqi Sheng was said to live on mount Penglai, he was a wizard able to make himself invisible at will. It is said the he was over one thousand years old at the time of Qin Shi Huang the first emperor.
Qin Shi Huang feared death and sought immortality. In a effort to avoid death he became obsessed with the elixir of life. So sending out an expedition under Xu Fu to find Anqi and to bring him back with the elixir of life, which would give him immortality.
Xu Fu returned a few days later and said that a great sea creature blocked the expeditions path. So emperor Qin Shi Huang sent out archers to slay the beast and Xu Fu continued on his journey. After several years Xu Fu could not find Anqi the wizard, so fearing to return empty handed for he knew the emperor would have him put to death he went on to conquer Japan and proclaimed himself king.
Xingtian was a giant who was a follower of Chi You. When the yellow emperor defeated Chi You, Xingtian went forth with axe and shield to fight the supreme divinity.
He forced his way into the celestial court and challenged the emperor to a dual.
The two of them engaged in combat, sword against axe, ferociously they fought all the way to the mountain of Changyang.
Where with a final swipe of his sword, the yellow emperor sliced off Xingtian’s head.
Nevertheless, headless, with shield in one hand and battle axe in the other he continues to fight. His nipples transformed into eyes and his navel into a mouth and defiantly he began to dance.
The monkey king or Sun Wukong as he is known can be traced back to the Song dynasty. The monkey king is blessed with super strength and the ability to transform into 72 different animals or objects. Each of his hairs have the power to manipulate wind, water and fire.
He is characterized by his short temper. Sun Wukong is a skilled fighter, and can also freeze living beings with his breath.
The monkey king established himself as a powerful demon, but he was sentenced to death for attacking a dragon king.
He defied hells attempts to collect his soul by wiping his name from the book of life and death. Exasperated with his antics the jade emperor appeal to the Buddha. The Buddha made a bet that the monkey king could not escape from the palm of his hand, smugly the monkey king accepted the challenge and flies to the end of the world. Where he sees five white pillars. He marks the pillars to prove he had reached the end of heaven. He then leaps back and land in to the Buddha’s palm, only to find the five pillars he had found were the fingers of the Buddha’s hand. When the monkey king tried to escape, the Buddha turns his hand into a mountain and there the monkey king remained imprisoned for five hundred years.
How a man called Zhang Lang became the kitchen god Zao Jun. Zhang Lang married a chaste woman, but soon after his marriage he fell for a younger woman. So he abandoned his wife. As punishment for his adultery the gods afflicted him with blindness. His young lover left him and he had to resort to begging to support himself.
While out begging one day his former wife came across him, despite the way he had treat her, she took pity on him and invited him to her house for a meal, but did not tell him who she was. After the meal Zhang Lang told her his story and he was so overcome with pain at his folly that he began to weep.
His former wife told him to open his eyes, whereupon his vision was restored. Recognising the woman he had abandoned, Zhang felt such remorse that he threw himself on the fire in the hearth. His former wife tried to save him but all she managed to save was one leg.
The devoted woman then created a shrine to her former husband and placed it above the fireplace. The gods were impressed by the woman’s devotion and Zhang Lang’s sacrifice so they made him the Kitchen god, and to this day in Chinese homes a fire poke is sometimes referred to as Zhang Lang’s leg.
Ji Gong who the people called the mad monk, for his eccentric behaviour, his dirty ragged robe and violating Buddhist monastic rules by eating meat and drinking alcohol had the gift of clairvoyance. One day he foresaw that a mountain peak was about to crash down upon a nearby village.
So he began to warn the village people, telling them of the danger, but they just laughed saying “ its that crazy monk talking nonsense” Ji Gong was at a loss and did not know what to do, but he knew he must do something, as no one took heed of his warning. Then he spotted a wedding procession, quickly he snatched the bride and took off with her draped over his shoulder. Alarmed the groom and the wedding guests called out and chased after the kidnapper, soon the whole village was chasing after Ji Gong.
Just as the people passed the village gates, the mountain top collapsed and came crashing down destroying the village. Ji Gong put down the bride and just stood in his tattered robes smiling and holding a bottle of wine in his right hand.
When Ji Gong died, he was buried in the running tiger spring area and a monastery named Jigong Tayuan was built in honour of him.
Yan Wang is regarded as the king of hell, he presides over and decides the fate of the dead. His minions include a judge who holds a brush and a book listing every soul and the allotted death date for every life.
His other minions, Bullhead and Horseface are the fearsome guardians of hell, who bring the newly dead, one at a time for judgment before Yan Wang. Who is described as having a fearsome appearance with big bulging eyes, deep red skin, a harsh expression and a long black beard.
Virtuous souls are sent to heaven for a given period, before returning to earth. Sinners are condemned to wander through the ten layers of hell before arriving at their punishment.
Even Yan Wang is not immune to the punishment of hell. When he is not passing judgement on other souls he is strapped to a hot metal bench as molten metal is poured down his throat three times a day, that is why his skin is so red.
Long ago in the far distant past, ten sun crows had risen together and scorched the earth. The archer Hou Yi shot nine of them, leaving one to serve humanity. For his efforts he was given the elixir of life as a reward, but he did not consume it straight away. He left it with his wife, whose name was Chang’e for safe keeping, for he wanted both himself and his wife to drink half each and both become immortals.
One day whilst out hunting, his apprentice Fengmeng crept into the house and tried to force Cheng’e to give him the elixir, she refused. In a moment of desperation she drank the elixir, but was reluctant to leave her husband who she loved very much, so she flew to the nearest place to earth in the heavens so she could be near him.
Hou Yi missed Chang’e so much he took to laying her favourite foods on a table every full moon. Which over time became the mid-autumn festival.
Hua Mulan was a legendary female warrior from the northern Wei (386 – 536) of Chinese history. Disguised as a man, she decides to take her fathers place and to be recruited as his son, for she knew her father was too old to survive the war.
Her heroic deeds were first recorded in ancient texts and retold in the famous poem “ballard of Mulan” In Chinese Hua means flower and Mulan means magnolia. The magnolia has been an auspicious symbol in China since ancient times.
She fought for twelve years and gained great merit, whereupon she was promoted to general. One day before a difficult battle she decided to go on the battlefield in woman’s clothing, so her soldiers would realise her true identity.
The reaction of the soldiers was one of admiration and respect. They were overwhelmed by her bravery. Through this action, she inspired her army to win yet another battle.
Hou Yi or lord archer as he was otherwise known, earned undying fame through his prowess with a bow, which was made from tiger bone and only he could draw it, and his arrows were made from dragons tendons.
It is said he saved the moon during an eclipse and rescued the country from a wind monster, he is also credited with saving the earth. In Chinese mythology, there were ten sun crows which settled on ten suns, each day one of the sun crows would be rostered to travel around the world in a carriage driven by Xihe the mother of the suns.
As soon as one sun crow returned another would set on its journey across the sky. One day all ten sun crows came out together causing the world to burn. Hou Yi was told by king Yao to find a way to sort things out. At first Hou Yi tried to reason with the sun crows, but when that did not work and the sun crows refused to heed his warnings.
He plucked an arrow from his satchel and began to shoot them down one at a time, he shot them until only one sun crow was remaining. The tenth sun crow was so scared it flew away and hid in a cave and the world was plunged into darkness and cold. All living things on the planet begged the sun crow to come out, but the sun crow ignored them, until a rooster climbed to the top of his roost and shouted, “brother come out please do” (cock-a-doodle-do).
The roosters voice was so shrill the sun crow decided to leave the cave, now when ever roosters crow in the mornings, the sun crow emerges to greet them.
Fu Xi in ancient Chinese mythology is regarded as a cultural hero who they say taught the people how to hunt with weapons made of iron, how to fish with nets, how to domesticate animals, taught them how to cook, how to make music, how to read and write. How to cultivate the silkworm, the art of weaving the threads of the cocoon into silks and much more. He is also credited with taming the yellow river by digging ditches. It is said that he can don the form of a dragon and that he has the body of a serpent.
He was married to his sister Nuwa. It is said that their mother the goddess Huaxu, suddenly became pregnant with twins after stepping into a footprint left by the thunder god Leigong.
Nuwa is Fu Xi’s sister and also his wife, she has a human face but a snakes body. It is said she is the creator of mankind, creating them with mud. She is also his Saviour, by mending a hole in the sky which caused a great flood.
The water god Gong Gong tried, but failed to overthrow the fire god Zhu Rong, becoming angry, Gong Gong rammed the imperfect mountain with his head. The mountain which supported heaven crumbled, tearing a hole in the sky.
In order to repair the damage, Nuwa gathered five coloured stones from the riverbed and melted them together to patch up the sky, but she discovered that there was not enough stone to fix the sky, so she sacrificed herself by using her body to fill the last piece, and from the five colours of the stones the rainbow was created and order was restored, humanity was saved,
Shen Nong is the third of the august ones, thought to have taught the practice of agriculture and the use of herbal drugs and the understanding of the pulse measurements, he is attributed to the invention of the hoe, the plough, digging of wells and irrigation, also the Chinese calendar.
He is reputed to have the head of a bull with the body of a man. The legend of his youth is that he was able to speak at three days old, walk at one week and could plough a field at the age of three years.
He is often referred to as the god of Chinese herbal medicine and that he discovered over 300 species of herbs and plants, one for every day of the year. Tea is said to be one of his greatest discoveries, discovered by accident when a leaf from a twig he was using for a fire rose up in the hot air and landed in the pot of water he was boiling. Being inquisitive he tasted the brew and this was the origins of tea.